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Like Your Own Cable Channel - Social Media for Financial Advisors

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 225

Social media has taken the world by storm. Applications like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have become intricately woven into the fabric of both our personal and professional lives. The world of financial services and more narrowly, the independent broker-dealer marketplace- has not been immune to the impact of social media tools and technologies. With over 700 million users globally, applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer cost-effective and efficient opportunities to grow and develop a financial business and brand. Looking to the future, many advisors will look to begin utilizing social media as a key tool for achieving business objectives. They will, however, face an obstacle in that many firms limit or prohibit the use of social media because of regulatory and compliance concerns, as well as other factors.

Are you curious about the role electronic marketing and networking could play in distributing your own products and services? If so, we urge you to read this report and contact us with any questions.

With an open mind, a sense of experimentation, and a relatively small budget, smaller independent business owners are finding themselves rewarded by fresh attention to their ideas and products through electronic initiatives.

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?Wikipedia defines the concept as "information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies". By this definition, the distinction between media and social media may be vanishing. At one point, writing on a wall with a stone was technology too. Along with the pencil and the typewriter, social media is also defined as the "technologies and practices people use to share opinions, insights and experiences". Creating value in common with its audience, social media marketing uses social networks, online communities or blogs for marketing, sales and public relations purposes. Creating a virtual shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content, this fusion of sociology and technology has literally transformed one-way internet communication into the instantaneous twoway dialogue of a linked community.

GROWTH IN NUMBERSLow-cost and creative, program combines the best of thought leadership with an enormous engine for growth: growth in numbers of contacts, clients, as well as assets. It offers an opportunity to dramatically expend your firm's presence, while measuring progress every step of the way.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?Electronic media provides a way for you to deploy more resources into your distribution and marketing efforts without assuming a lot more cost. Independent business owners are looking to boost production and distribution through technological innovations over the age-old method of staffing up and over-spending without any real method of measuring the success.

SEVEN STEPS TO MAKING A SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONThis seven-step guide is designed for independent business owners that do not necessarily have the depth of resources of their larger counterparts. With a relatively small budget, most of the steps described can be accomplished over a period of 6-9 months.

1. Define Success for your program in a way that relates to connections first, revenue second.2. Establish a thought leadership position based on a construct of themes and values that represent your expertise and mission.3. Evaluate your competition; one-up them, while avoiding their mistakes.4. Develop content to support your message, draw deeply from existing material and complement it with new ideas and emphasis.5. Plan on supporting your program, by building consensus and conviction among your colleagues.6. Measure the results with embedded tools that fingerprint your visitors.7. Build momentum by refreshing your curriculum of themes on a periodic basis.

NOW, JUST DO IT- (social media that is...) Participating in social media takes a lot of work. You must have something to say and you must have someone (or a team of people) to say it on a regular basis. It won't happen unless it becomes part of someone's job. Do you have someone ready to commit a big chunk of time to maintaining your social media presence? Unless you specify that what you're doing has a limited duration (like a twitter feed during a conference), people will expect you to keep it up. Add in that FINRA has taken a very firm stand on how you manage social media connections, you will want to ensure you are committed to doing it properly and with the guidance of a firm that has elected to embrace this new technology.

DO IT NOW - In case you need more encouragement to research social media in your business, here are some closing thoughts: • One of eight couples married in the US last year met via social media.• If Facebook were a country, it would be larger than the USA.• 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; 95% of these use LinkedIn.• The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year old females• There are over 200,000,000 blogs• 25% of search results for the world's top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.• 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations• 24 of 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation

In conclusion, small business owners across the world are stampeding through the social media portal. According to a University of Maryland Smith School of Business study, 75% of small business owners have a page on Facebook or LinkedIn. 57% are building their networks through LinkedIn and 69% post status updates or articles on Facebook. Today, most financial firms fall into one of two camps when it comes to adopting social networking tools. They have either blocked access because of the challenges associated with supervisory and data retention requirements or they've opened the doors and done the work to educate themselves and address the compliance issues such social media tools pose. Do you know which camp your firm is in? If you are lucky enough to be part of a firm that embraces this new medium, stay tuned for volumes 2-5 for more detailed conversations on how to implement Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging within the ever-changing FINRA guidelines.

Tarah Carlow has over 17 years of experience in the brokerage industry and currently is Vice-President of Marketing and New Business Development for Prospera Financial Services, where she is responsible for marketing, public relations and new business growth through recruiting and acquisition.

Source: EzineArticles
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